Millennium Blades: CCG Card Simulator Game
Level 99 Games
Game Time: 80-120 minutes
During my middle school/high school life, I was a collectable card gamer. I would immediately run to my local comic shop just to crack a fresh pack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards. I would open pack after pack with the hopes of finding that elusive power rare that would make my deck stronger for next week’s tournament. Nowadays, my choice of games has changed, but that does not stop me from buying a couple of packs of Magic every now and again.
I’m happy to say that all these feelings have been encapsulated in the “trading card game simulator” Millennium Blades by Level 99 Games. An obvious parody of hit shows like Yu-Gi-Oh, Millennium Blades has players partake in three card game “tournaments”. Points are awarded depending on tournament results and the player with the most points at the end of the season wins. This game also introduces another aspect between the main tournament rounds: players buy, sell, or trade cards that will allow them to modify their decks for the next tournament. Certain actions in this phase such as building a collection or trading actions may award players bonus points.
The game recommends novice players to participate in a “pre-release tournament”. Players receive a random starter deck of 10 cards to use for the first tournament. The objective is simple: win the tournament by earning the most points. Each player will have their own play board with six card slots and take turns placing cards on their board starting from the left most slot to the right. The cards played will have various abilities that will award their player with points or hinder the other players. Once all players have filled their game boards, each player calculates points and a winner for that tournament declared. Theses results are recorded and victory point are awarded. Player will have two more tournaments to place higher.
Before the start of the next tournament, players have a timed round to obtain better cards and modify their deck. Players are given an “allowance” during this round and may buy cards from the main store or the secondary market. You may try your luck buying unknown card packs from the main store for a set price or buy specific cards available at the secondary market that could cost even more. Players may also sell their extra cards in the secondary market to gain more money or trade them value for value with other players.
During this phase, Meta cards are revealed that will indicate what element or type of cards will have an advantage in the next round. Players that use those cards will gain bonus points that can help them win that tournament. The excess cards a player obtains may also be cashed in for victory points at the end game. The bigger the collection, the more victory point you get.
The quick and simple game mechanics in the tournament phases makes this game fun. Veteran and casual players alike will easily pick up the mechanics after their first tournament. More experienced players will enjoy the immense variation and combinations this game provides. The extensive card pool as well as understanding the card placement and timing gives this game a subtle complexity. The card-drafting phase is equally enjoyable. The 10 minute time limit gives the player a sense of urgency and keeps the flow going. As soon as the clock starts, it felt like a mad rush to the card counter to get the best cards and newest packs.
I had the opportunity to experience two playthroughs of the game. The first game was cut short due to a player leaving, but everyone at that table was itching to give it another try. This time we had a much better understanding of the rules and could focus on advanced strategy.
A minor issue I had with this game was that it has A LOT of cards without any expansions. The base set comes with 600 cards and players will use 400 of those in a game. While this will allow for repeated plays without getting stale, it also means there is a high learning curve. Specifically, there was a card ability that required the player to name a card; this was ignored simply because no one would know what cards to call out.
There was also another issue during the drafting phase: no designated order in acquiring new cards. This meant it was first-come-first-serve, and a situation came up where two players were vying for the same card. We simply flipped a coin for it but, it would help to have some sort resolution for this in the rules.
Final Score: 8/10
It is a fun game with a lot of replay value. The mechanics are simple enough to understand, but veteran players can create complex strategies and combinations. The problems with this game are minor and don’t take away too much from the experience. The amount of stuff in the base set alone at a $50-$60 price point gives you a big bang for your buck.